Even if you're well past puberty, your body odor can keep changing and surprising you all throughout adulthood. It's just one of those great benefits of growing up. In fact, the way your body odor changes as you get older can get a bit surprising and strange. That signature scent just continues to evolve over time for most people, it seems.
To be clear, though, some amount of body odor is totally normal and expected. Also known as bromhidrosis, body odor is a totally natural part of being a human, as noted in Very Well Health. Although a person's lifestyle habits and medical history can affect this scent, part of it is just determined by genetics, as further explained in Very Well Health. People aren't meant to be totally scent-free all the time, and some amount of body odor isn't even within your control.
Along those lines, there are some specific ways that body odor can change as a person goes through the aging process. A lot of it is just determined by the natural ways the body reacts to different compounds, hormones, or even minerals, so it's not entirely within an individual's control. So read on to learn about the subtle (and more overt) ways your BO can change over time.
1. They Get More Powerful
Don't underestimate the power of hormones. "Also as a woman's body ages estrogen levels fluctuate and drop," says Jill Lebofsky, certified health coach & Pilates instructor. Estrogen helps regulate body temperature, so when estrogen levels decrease, the body can experience increased sweat production, as Lebofsky explains. And the increase in sweat can bring about increased, stronger body odor.
2. They Get Pretty Foul
If your armpits seem more foul-smelling lately, to the point where deodorant is no longer getting the job done, then consider your diet. As it turns out, a lack of minerals such as magnesium can also lead to particularly rank body odors, as Lebofsky explains. "The mineral magnesium helps in ‘deodorizing’ our internal organs and also helps with our body odor," said cardiologist Robert Segal, M.D. in Reader's Digest. To boost the magnesium content of your diet, eat more dark chocolate, avocados, and bananas, according to Healthline.
3. They Get Rank
Zinc deficiencies can also cause body odor issues, explains Lebofsky. If your body odor gets a bit rank, then consider increasing zinc-rich foods in your diet such as red meat or shellfish.
4. They May Become More Sweet-Smelling
Certain medical conditions can also cause changes to a person's body odor, says Lebofsky. For example, sweet, almost fruity-smelling breath can be related to diabetes complications, according to Men's Health. This is the sort of body odor that's definitely worth mentioning to your doctor.
5. They Smell Like What You Eat & Drink
As you settle into lifelong eating and drinking patterns, your own aroma will naturally reflect whatever gets put into your body. Anything from broccoli to beer can affect your body odor, according to Berkeley Wellness. Whatever you habitually consume will have an impact on your baseline body odor.
6. They Get Strong & Sour
The many stresses of adulthood may cause temporary but noticeable changes to your body odor. When you're anxious or stressed, the body releases protein-rich sweat from the apocrine glands, which can combine with bacteria to produce an especially noticeable odor, as Hooman Khorasani, M.D. explained in Women's Health.
7. They Get Sweeter & Distinct
The distinct aging odor (which is referred to as kareishu in Japanese) exists for a reason, explains Caleb Backe, certified health & wellness expert for Maple Holistics. It's possibly associated with an increase of the compound 2-nonenal as a person ages. A compound also found in aged beer, 2-nonenal may be a part of the age-related changes in a person' body odor, according to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Although still under investigation, this may be one of the reasons older adults can produce a distinctive body odor. (You may associate this scent with a nursing home, for instance.)
Whatever the case, most people will find that their individual scent keeps changing over time. Basically, your body odor keeps getting more distinct, or even refined, with age.